Racing to the top™ aims to use the positive and enjoyable hands-on learning experience of building and maintaining (of model cars) as a means of engaging Indigenous Youth and Youth at Risk in learning about small engines. Once the Program is completed and model cars have been built, students will have the option of mentoring students in future classes. Skill development will include students building good working relationships with the teacher and fellow students.
Racing to the Top™ will also see the students gaining valuable new organizational skills by setting up their own Race Club and accessing the wider world of model car racing by racing the cars they have built during the Program.
Racing to the Top is being run in schools, and youth services around Sydney and has a 90% success rate in keeping Indigeneous youth and youth at risk engaged in the education system.
Development of Racing to the Top
As a qualified Workplace Trainer a Assessor, I developed Racing to the Top specifically for Indigenous Youth and youth at risk.
In today's society, Youth can easily lose their way. Every week we read and hear of young people getting into trouble by choosing to go down the wrong path. I believe it happens sometimes through the lure of promises or just simply a lack of a decent education.
Getting a good education is a very important step towards better employment opportunities and a higher standard of living. There are numerous barriers Indigenous and disadvantaged communities alike are faced with in regards to education and employment.
If people are to gain an education, I think it's important that they enjoy themselves while doing so, but in saying that - the teacher must be inventive to make learning enjoyable and attractive to engage the students.
'Racing to the Top' developed out of a program that Dr Joy Murray from the Benevolent Societies' Eastern Sydney Leadership Program asked me to run. Initially, we introduced a mainstream Tafe 2 stroke engine program to students at Matraville High. However we found that this style of mainstream teaching did not appeal to the students.
After speaking with young people, I started to think of a program with the capacity to engage youth, be interesting and attractive, delivered onsite and as practical as possible. This program would also provide links to further education and access to the wider community.
As the remote-controlled racing car runs on a two stroke engine, I thought that if we got the students to build their own racing car, it would be a good way of getting them to learn about the two stroke engine in a hands on enjoyable way.
To assemble the cars, students need to show discipline, follow detailed instructions and have patience.
Racing to the Top is attractive and different to Indigenous youth and youth at risk because of the program's content and high practical component. While the program appears to be of a practical nature, students who assemble and operate the cars, begin to recognize and understand how theory relates to practical work.
Racing to the Top™ gives young Indigenous people, and Youth at Risk, the opportunity to participate in Programs other than their normal School Curriculum, which will increase their learning in a positive way, thus keeping them engaged at school.
Racing to the Top™ is a 3-stage proposal and was designed in 2003 to provide a specific need for the target audience mentioned above.
The Program targets youth having difficulties adapting to the school system or any youth group ororganization that wants to provide young people with a different kind of positive hands-on learning experience.
Racing to the Top™ stage 1 is a Small Engines/ Remote Control Race car building Program that is delivered onsite and in the most practical way possible.
Young people who undertake the 14-week Program (5 hours per week) will learn about: Small Engines, First aid and OH&S over the first 8 weeks and build Remote Control petrol driven cars based on 2-stroke engine principles over the remaining 7 weeks.
Racing to the Top™ stage 2 enables students to develop the skills needed to set up and run their own race club. Members will meet and form a club that will operate in a similar way to any other club. It will also allow students to continue using their racing cars while learning basic repairs and maintenance skills. They will also learn skills in fund-raising, organization, web-skills to do research and communicating over the telephone with other clubs, hobby shops and wholesalers etc.
Racing to the Top™ stage 3 involves building a race-track and racing against other race clubs.